More previews from the Kelly Tyrannosaur Project.

Kelly TrixFBAs we can see here… not everything tyrannosaur has to be Tyrannosaurus! This classic scene has been depicted many times…And it should have been an awesome one to watch. Triceratops was once depicted as a mud wrestler by Dr. Bob Bakker.

Mike Kelly has been painstakingly putting together a treaty about Tyrannosaurus that wants to embrace everything: from local environments, to the prey, to the extant contemporary fauna and to the different approaches to recreate the image of the über predator… feathers and no feathers,,,. Obviously after my “conversion” through the discovery of  Yutyrannus, there was no way I could go back to do Tyrannosaurus the way I had done all my life. Parsimony reigns in Palaeontology. We will need now hard evidence to see T. rex naked the way it used too be, even if for some  the acceptance of image transition has been and continues to be very hard. And that has included me and Mike himself… But once you make your mind about the new image and understand why,  the only question for the artist from then on is to make the image believable!  I’m really looking forward to see Mike Kelly’s book finished and published. It’s going to be a real achievement at every possible level. Tyr  rowB

Obviously the one showing the Keratin Revolution was not only T. rex… and Triceratops had to have his whole new make-up too! This time blending the hard evidence of hits skin,  I have used a B&W stripped  pattern that I have used before and curiously makes it blend quite well with the surroundings . Keep plugged in for more on the Keratin Revolution in the not so far future!

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London’s Best Kept “Secret” Dinoexhibit Is About To Be Unveiled!

DSCN2215It’s finally here… and I have followed Peter Norton step by step build-up of Hatching The Past for the first time in London, at the Horniman Museum in South London and this time under the name of  “Dinosaurs Monster Families

As usual, it is a thrill to see the man working… and I think the final results will be as awesome as usual.  The space is not as big as I thought, so the casts, specimens and artwork are tightly spaced… for the better, I think. Novelties this time are even more egg casts, a David Attenborough surprise contribution  and the huge Tarbosaurus skull (holotype) that Peter has added lately… I had the joy to “play” with it before being installed in place!

Don’t miss this event… it starts the 13 of February for six long months… so there’s plenty of time for enjoyment, including organised talks by David Hone and possibly some events for kids with Carmen and yours truly.

Next week I’ll post some images of the finalised  exhibition after it opens… It will be the first time that an exhibition with my murals will be shown in my home town. It is an extremely rewarding experience.

Posted in Dinosaur Monster Families, Dinosaurs, Hatching The Past, Museum Displays, oviraptorosaurs, Raptors, tyrannosaurs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A couple of Mosasaurs for Walentinia!


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Walentinia Silverada is a student and colleague at the Instituto de Geología in Mexico City (fresh out from the illustrious clan of the UNAM/René Hernández & Marisol Montellano cradle). She has been studying Mexican mosasaurs for a long time… in fact they have been her thesis and now  she has graduated!  She complained to me that very seldom mosasaurs could be seen showing their ‘lizard’ forked tongues (based  not only on assumed ancestry, but  actual features in the skull’s jaws: two holes in the palate allow the odour particles to be transferred from the tongue’s tips to Jacobson’s organ.  See Netherlands Journal of Geosciences — Geologie en Mijnbouw | 84 – 3 |359 – 371 | 2005). She also noted that their possible general coloration  (based on latest discoveries regarding fossilised pigmentation) is also been often ignored… no less by monster atrocities of the likes of Jurassic World.

Schulp-2005-Did mosasaurs have forked tongues-3-7So what better way to celebrate her graduation than fulfilling her desires all at once? The coloration we discussed was somehow similar to a killer whale, makes sense… Although I’m still reluctant to take all studies on fossilised melanomas  too readily!  Things like this make it real fun to do marine reptiles at last…A good start of 2016, and is not even dinosaurian yet!  Here are a couple of (hypothetical) “Silveradasaurus walentiniae” in action… and by the way, she specially likes their eyes!

Clock is ticking for the great opening of Hatching The Past in London at the Horniman Museum the 13 of February…  Watch this space. More information soon!

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Winter Solstice 2015/16

Card 2016BlogJust in time for the silly hats…As ever I thank you all for the support to this blog throughout this year… wishing you a better 2016 if at all possible!

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Popularising science… The right way!

Remember this? When I did this restoration of Sereno’s outlandish Spinosaurus, I could’t wait to hear the complaints… there were some but not as many as I expected!

Spinosaurus WalrusBNow I have just purchased the new 1:40 scale Spinosaurus from the Collecta label… and guess what? Not only they have done a very decent popular toy model of Sereno’s reconstruction… could it be  that they also heeded my advice!?…  So far I have not seen anyone else reconstructing the quadrupedal Spinosaurus with an outwardly bending hand.

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There is something inherently wrong  with a “knuckle walking” dinosaur without proper adaptations to such specialised trait … just as it is completely wrong to reconstruct Deinonychus or any maniraptoran  with pronate hands.  We all know that radius and ulna were locked parallel to each other in all theropods… consequently the wrist started modifications so the hands could rotate sideways… a process that permitted, eventually,  the evolution of the  wings of a bird.

CollectaspinB2Alan Gishlick demonstrated to me a long time ago that all theropod hands could also bend slightly outwards. We need a more serious study of the Spinosaurus hand… in the meantime, if the new Spinosaurus would try to walk with  hands bending  inwards (as it has been generally depicted lately),  it would have to use the wrists to touch the ground!… that seemed absurd to me,  so the bending outward was what I applied to my “walrus” Spinosaurus… and that is precisely what Collecta has done with its new model! I want to believe that my idea had something to do with it!

It may look outlandish and quite extraordinary (and I also question the fact that such puny legs could actually be useful for walking on land the way the model does)… but you have to agree that this is the right way to get our collective popular imagination into a real scientific debate… is it possible or not?  Can this monster be too much of a monster?  At least is not deformed according to  Hollywood’s expectations, but according to real scientific work. It might be flawed or not… but after the recent Jurassic World attempt to blow Palaeontology apart,  this little toy made me renew my hope that popular science is not completely lost to mass-marketing pressure …. needless to say I’m looking forward to apply some of my own colouring to the model  it in the near future!

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Dinosaurs Take Flight opens at last!

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There exhibition many of us were waiting for since last year is finally opening at the Kenosha Public Museum! It is a dazzling design by Nick Regester and Alanna Magovern dedicated exclusively to artwork representing Archaeopteryx and its dramatic development and study as probably the most famous fossil in History and  includes artwork  of artists of the stature of Julius Csotonyi,  Gary Staab, William Stout, Mark Hallett, Dennis Wilson and I feel privileged to be in such compelling (and legendary) company. There’s a very good gallery of images at Silver Plume Exhibitions… but since we are here I can show you some pictures of my own part of the display… Every artists section is the same, although obviously there are space differences.especially with respect of the work of the sculptors… It emphasises the fact that this is more than anything an art exhibition, with some personal memorabilia from the artists including old sketches and even  some childhood art (bit embarrassing, but hey, at least it made my parents happy in those ages…)!Rey Section 2

It also includes some original acrylics and inks on board artwork, contrasting with its digital development…Archaeopteryx as it was in 2000 (using as inspiration a photograph of a Hoatzin chick struggling to climb to safety) and as it finally is now, after lots of tugging and shoving with researchers like Jakov Vinther and Nick Longrich!
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But what I set up to  specially do for this landmark itinerant exhibition was the mural (that unfortunately for reasons of space could not be life size!). In it I wanted to reflect the multiple sizes and astounding shapes of Archaeopteryx maniraptoran relatives… From Archaeopteryx itself to Confuciusornis, a flying Cathayornis, Ichthyornis, Anchiornis, Tröodon, Velociraptor, Deinonychus, Microraptor, Bambiraptor, Sinornithosaurus  finishing off with a cut-off Utahraptor that is trying to get away from everything. This mural includes an interactive touch screen where kids can select each animal and learn about their scientific facts.  Needless to say, the amount of work Alanna and Nick have put in this exhibition is monumental and the results are nothing but outstanding. The slick and carefully displayed pieces are a joy to watch and on top of that… you have  perfect casts of ALL the Archie specimens  to behold!

Thanks to everybody involved and specially Alanna and Nick for making this such a memorable event.Rey section 3
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Just a single picture…

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Hatching The Past in Delaware USA (picture by Charlie Magovern). A momentous  snap that finally show the moment Oviraptors hatch their babies in the XXI Century (albeit in human form).

Who says Paleoart doesn’t pay? At least some times it does…And this kind of payment is priceless!

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Odds and Sods… more extras for Anusuya Chinsamy’s Fossils For Africa.

TendaguruBHaving fun with old artwork includes also  modifying existing pieces that  I never found completely satisfactory the first time around. This Tendaguru composition pretended to simply pleasantly illustrate all the famous well known animals from that famous Tanzanian formation. I have always found  Elaphrosaurus rather puzzling… when I saw its skeleton at the Humboldt Museum in Berlin it looked odd and the skull was obviously too reconstructed to be  sure how would it have really looked: very long neck and body and almost ridiculous small arms for a mid sized Theropod.  A long time agoi it wqas considered an ornithomimosaur, it’s currently classified as a ceratosaurian but its possible relation to abelisaurs seems also justified.  In the picture it could be chasing either the ornithopod Dryosaurus (hypothetically quilled in the picture) or, obviously,  the baby Brachiosaurus sheltered under the monstrous frame of its mother… Obviously the scene wouldn’t be complete without the armoured Kentrosaurus that, together with the rest of the animals, looks tiny in an scenario dominated by Brachiosaurus. In many senses this is just a tribute to  the great experience that is the Humboldt Museum… an extraordinary dinosaur hall that doesn’t appear too big compared with many others around the world, but, the ensemble is so impressive and so well put together that you can spend hours just sitting by the feet of Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus and Dicraeosaurus and in awe of the contrast in sizes and shapes! The pterosaurs in this scenario are Dsungaripterus… but it’s location here is purely hypothetical.

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